Camera Guy does this thing when he gets bored. It involves taking apart different systems like electrical outlets or water pipes or trees that are pertinent to our home and trying to “fix” them.
It makes me crazy.
I understand that this is a common behavior among many men, and perhaps especially,those that are homeowners. I admire that trait, truly I do. Man’s desire to flex his testosterone by whacking something with a hammer brings them a satisfaction that I clearly cannot relate to. I imagine it is akin to the satisfaction we women feel when we get that sought after winter coat on the clearance rack, in our exact size for 75% off.
Still, men and home projects. It will never cease to amaze me, or rather, make me nuts. I had to ban Camera Guy from home improvement stores for a period of about a month when I realized he was cheating on me with Lowes. It was a gradual realization. He would slip out infrequently to pick up an extension cord, or a pack of light bulbs on sale. Then the excuses started coming more often, nearly every couple of days. Everything led to “stopping by Lowes”. Every minor situation at home ultimately warranted a “lets see what Lowes has”.
I really started getting suspicious when he would be on the Lowes website after work. Online shopping. Then our family time on Saturday came, and on several occasions,
“Why don’t we walk around Lowes?” Was the family outing suggested.
I should have known then what was happening. But oddly it sounded like a good idea. We went. And then one family trip led to more. And pretty soon I was able to see how it went, he walked around that store like I walked around H&M. Dazed and bedazzled by it all. Window shopping at everything from plywood to 6 Volt batteries. Meandering aimlessly up and down each and every aisle until I just couldn’t bear it any longer.
“We just need a ceiling fan dome! For the love, can’t we ask someone for help?”
That’s when I saw the seducing effect of it. He insisted he could find the domes. He positively refused to ask for help. After about a half hour, when I finally asked someone myself, promptly located the dome, picked one out and proceeded to purchase it I noticed the forlorn look of “its over” on his face.
Now clued into the process, I was able to realize just why he took so long each time he stopped at Lowes. On the next two occasions, I stayed in the car. Both times he took over an hour to locate 1 item. The first time I napped while he took the kids in (which I figured would keep things moving). He claimed the check out lines were long. I asked him if he asked for help locating the item. Nope. (Mental note)
The second time, he left me and the kids in the car about 15 minutes before the store closed (so it was way past the kids bedtime already). He pulled up to the fire lane, left us in the running car since it was freezing outside and ran in to get a shovel for the impending snowstorm. I assumed the store closing would get him in and out, as he insisted he would be. But no, an hour later…he came out with a shovel to a very grouchy me who was sitting in a freezing cold car with two screaming kids. The gas had run out while he was shopping. I needn’t say anything more, I didn’t even say anything to him when he got in the car. You could cut the tension with a knife, or a hand saw. He knew it was thin ice to be walking on.
When we got home I asked if he asked anyone for help. I knew what answer to expect. I learned that day that men find it a huge blow to their manliness if they have to ask for “help” in the most manliest of man stores, Lowes. It’s like they believe they inherently possess the ability to track down every screw, saw, wiring kit or bolt cutter just because they are men. Makes me nuts.
The most recent hubbub that inspired this post was when he attempted to fix our water pipe that was only dripping. It was dripping ever so slightly, he began tinkering in the basement and next thing I knew, the pipe was broken and there was a lot of water in my basement. He shut the water off for the whole house and ran out to Lowes. I begged him to call a plumber, as we had guests staying with us. 12 hours later, and three more trips to Lowes, we still had no fixed pipe or water (or toilet!). It was on the brink of closing time for Lowes and when he realized he had bought the wrong pipe. Too late to make another trip, we’d have to wait until the morning.
My blood started boiling. No showers, no toilet, no sink…and we had company.
“Sorry guests, you’ll have to brush your teeth with the bottled water—refugee style. And don’t flush the toilet! So if you have to go big time, try to wait until morning. Thanks for visiting!”
I looked at him and asked him if he had asked someone for help in the store the previous 3 times he’d been in.
Of course not.
That was it. Men, dear men, dear husbands out there please I implore you please just swallow your pride and go to customer service if you can’t locate your item after 15 minutes! Nobody thinks less of you, nobody will judge you, we won’t think you are less capable of doing your job as a husband. I argue, we will think you are more capable! I think nothing would impress a wife more than I husband who can get the tools he needs the first trip, and complete his project as soon as possible.
And so, the next project was completed in a much more acceptable manner. Although it did warrant a last minute “gotta run to Lowes!” I nearly doubled over when he returned, with the correct item, in only a half hour.
“How is this possible?” I asked, blinking dumbly as I looked up from the book I was reading.
He shrugged his shoulders, “It wasn’t hard to find.”
“So… you’re saying… you asked someone?” I tried to squeeze it out of him.
“Yep. But I knew it was going to be in that aisle anyway” He still tried to fluff his peacock tail while admitting, asking for help was easier.
I sighed relief as I went back to my book and he finished his project.
Awesome. Mr. Fix-It, I must say, job well done!